The Washington Huskies are typically a team that challenges themselves in the non-conference portion of their schedule each college football season. They are usually playing a marque, primetime game to kick off the new campaign but that is not the case in 2013.
After playing the likes of LSU in previous seasons, in 2008 they played BYU, Oklahoma and Notre Dame, in 2013 the Huskies will open their season with a MAACO Bowl rematch with Boise State but then play a neutral-field game against Illinois, a team that went just 2-10 in 2012. The Fighting Illini are far from the caliber of LSU and Washington is hoping that, with the lighter beginning to their schedule, getting off to a quicker start is more plausible.
Along with not playing a tougher non-conference schedule, the rest of their schedule sets up for sustained success that could keep the Huskies in the top 25 for more than a week or two at a time. Washington will only play four Pac 12 road games in 2013 meaning that they will play seven home games, with six of those first nine games being played at newly remodeled Husky Stadium.
It’s not all easy for Washington in 2013, especially their four road conference games. Washington will travel to Stanford, Oregon State, UCLA and Arizona State as part of their Pac 12 schedule. However, much to their benefit, they avoid USC and host Oregon next season.
It’s difficult to predict at the onset of each season how hard/easy a schedule will turn out to be. Teams can either exceed expectations or fall well short of them and it sets up for an ever-changing strength of schedule. However, Washington has the opportunity to not only get off to a quick start due to a lighter non-conference slate but the Huskies also have the opportunity take advantage of their early home games.